Scenario Planning is a methodology for considering long range futures, assessing their consequences and identifying relevant responses in terms of investments, plans and policies. While this methodology originated in military and business strategic planning, it is now also used to guide urban and regional land development and infrastructure investment plans. In this context, scenario planning provides a way to anticipate and adjust for potential future change in demographic, economic, technological and climate patterns. Given uncertainty about the timing and magnitude of change, it becomes prudent to portray scenarios in terms of both future needs and proposed interventions. This enables analysis of consequences – both direct effects (on adequacy of public and private investments) and broader consequences for urban growth and economic development.
EDR Group has a history of involvement in long range planning for states and regions, as a byproduct of our economic impact forecasting practice. More recently, we have expanded to portray the wider effect of emerging changes in spatial and temporal patterns of:
- Economic growth, trade and business location,
- Population demographics and land development,
- Infrastructure and services: supply, availability and location,
- Relative costs for transportation, energy and local water utilities, and
- Exogenous factors such as exchange rates, technology adoption and climate change.
We apply these findings to illuminate the need for public and private investment funding and incentive policies to support desired futures -- in the areas of transportation, water/sewer, energy and land development. A hallmark of our scenario analysis work has been our ability to communicate consequences, and work with local partners for public and business community input.